Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Steam locomotive - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Steam locomotive - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "



A steam locomotive is a locomotive powered by steam. The term usually refers to its use on railways, but can also refer to a 'road locomotive' such as a traction engine or steamroller.

Steam locomotives were the dominant form of rail traction from the mid 19th century until the mid 20th century, after which they were superseded by diesel and electric locomotives."

In 1802 Trevithick built one of his high pressure steam engines to drive an automatic hammer at the Pen-y-Daren iron works near Merthyr in South Wales. With the assistance of Rees Jones, an employee of the iron works and under the supervision of Samuel Homfray, the proprietor, he mounted the engine on a wagon chassis and turned it into a locomotive. In 1803 Trevithick sold the patents for his railway locomotives to Samuel Homfray.

Homfray was so impressed with Trevithick's locomotive that he made a bet with another ironmaster, Richard Crawshay, for 500 guineas that Trevithick's steam locomotive could haul 10 tons of iron along the Merthyr Tramroad from Penydarren to Abercynon, a distance of 9.75 miles (16 km). Amid great interest from the public, on 21 February 1804 it successfully carried 10 tons of iron, 5 wagons and 70 men the full distance in 4 hours and 5 minutes, an average speed of nearly 5 mph. As well as Homfray, Crawshay and the passengers, other witnesses included Mr. Giddy, a respected patron of Trevithick and an engineer from the Government'[7]. The engineer from the Government was probably a safety inspector and particularly interested in the boiler's ability to withstand high steam pressures.

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